February 14, 2018

Florida Policymakers Stand Up for Pet Store Puppies

a puppy in a crate

We’re thrilled to report that the State of Florida recently took a stand for pet store pets and the municipalities that want to keep cruelly-bred puppies out of their communities. On February 2, at the recommendation of former State Senate President Tom Lee, the Florida Constitutional Revision Commission’s (CRC) Local Government Committee unanimously voted to reject Proposition 95. 

The measure, if passed, would have gutted Florida’s cities and towns of the home-rule authority to ban the sale of cruelly-bred puppies at retail pet stores, invalidated existing local bans and prevented communities from enacting similar bans in the future. 

Most puppies sold at pet stores come from puppy mills, commercial pet-breeding facilities that prioritize profit over the health and wellbeing of animals. Dogs in these operations are often kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization.

Local-level bans are critical to reducing the demand for cruelly-sourced puppies. Over 50 municipalities within Florida have already taken a stand against cruel breeding by passing laws to keep the puppies produced by this inhumane industry out of their pet stores, and more than 220 localities across the country have enacted similar ordinances.

Over 2,500 Florida ASPCA animal advocates raised their voices on this issue. During the vote, Commissioner Bob Solari said that he had received more feedback from constituents on this single issue than on any other during his time as a Commissioner, and cited the thousands of emails he received from cat and dog lovers against the measure:

“In the last two weeks I, and I believe all of my fellow Commission members of this Local Government committee, have received over 2,800 emails saying “vote no on Proposition 95,” and that’s more than half of all the emails I have received as a CRC Commissioner. Most of these emails are from cat and dog lovers who, like their local governments, believe that local governments understand the needs of their pets and do not want the wellbeing of their loved ones left in the hands of Tallahassee legislators. And as any Florida politician knows, any proposal that has united cat and dog lovers in the great state of Florida against it has no chance of success.”

The ASPCA wants to thank the members of the Florida Constitutional Revision Commission’s Local Government Committee for taking a stand against puppy mill cruelty. President Lee has been a longstanding champion of animal welfare, and we applaud him and Commissioner Solari for their leadership and for listening to their constituents’ concerns about this measure.

If you live in Florida, please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to join us in thanking President Lee and Commissioner Solari for opposing this harmful proposal. Don’t live in Florida? Please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to be alerted when puppy mill dogs in your state need your help.